Astute and Discriminating Readers

I have always assumed that Keep an Open Eye has astute and discriminating readers.Through the copious Web Analyzer reports made available by my ISP I have found a way to test just how astute and discriminating the readership is. Here are the details.

Keep an Open Eye readers who come from my theOpenSourcery.com site know that I do not have the highest regard for what Microsoft is doing with IE. In effect, they are using their monopoly hold on browser usage (IE is hovering around 93% worldwide marketshare according to theCounter.com) to slow down and impede adoption of the Web API. How ? – Microsoft has made no improvements to its browser since 2001. In addition IE is still scheduled to become a part of the Longshothorn OS and Microsoft still refuses to say what features and interoperability in contrast to Mozilla, Opera and others who have not only made their browsers more W3C standards compliant (notably in CSS, DOM, XML, and HTML) but also are innovating with gesture, speech, and other new features. In addition, Opera and Mozilla appear to be in a race to make their browsers most consistent across major desktop platforms. Opera is carrying this one step further and bringing browser capabilities to PDAs, Mobile phones and other devices.

IE is so far behind that to get embedded Google Search, popup blocking, tabbed or multi-windows browsing, download management, mouse gestures, and a host of other common browser conveniences and features, IE users have to load plugins, skins, 3rd party IE replacement browsers or just do without. As for developers, tack on 20-40% more development time to make your Web project able to support IE for cross platform because IE has fallen so far behind on standards. Sticking with IE means that users will have a basic engine that is now 4++ years old. And it shows as IE is first in many recent browser lines of attack and frequency of having to patch vulnerabilities.

Now Microsoft will argue that is because IE is more frequently used – but on that measure Linux/Apache should be seeing double the patches that Windows/IIS is seeing. Not so. So to make a long story mercifully shorter, we decided to measure how discriminating our readership is by seeing how many are choosing the better browsers from Mozilla and Opera.

We figured that our readership would indicate astuteness and independence by switching over time from IE to Mozilla and Opera. Here are the results:

January 2004
IE usage all types = 65.2%
Mozilla+Opera = 5.3%

August 2004
IE usage all types = 59.4%
Mozilla+Opera = 8.7%

Now let me explain the results. Webalizer produces a report of the top 20 “user agents” from which these stats are taken plus a listing of all user agents which has hundreds of entries and which I am not using at this time (This would require parsing a file – I may do this as PHP or JavaScript tutorial at a future date).

So it appears Keep an Open Eye does have a core group of discriminating readers which is growing at a steady rate. We shall post these statistics each month and see if that hypothesis remains true.

Meanwhile here are some more interesting facts about the readership:
In Jan 2004 25.0% were .NET enabled.
In Aug 2004 29.1% were .NET enabled.
Outdside the US the most frequent users are:
Jan 2004
UK
Netherlands
Canada
Australia
France

August 2004
Australia
UK
Canada
Netherlands
Germany

Very Interesting.